Trip Report: Greece – Part 1 – Athens
Greece…what an amazing country and incredible destination. Recently, one of our agents Mary Bickett had the opportunity to experience this gem of a country for a whole week. A week is not nearly enough time for this special destination, but you can get a taste of a little bit of everything, which will prepare you for wanting a return trip. Greece offers many different experiences, including history, culinary, family friendly trips, islands, beaches, romance, honeymoons, incredible wedding destinations, luxury stays, golf courses, spa relaxation and many more. Mary had the opportunity to visit Athens, Crete, Santorini and Mykonos on this adventure. Check out our tips for each destination.
Our agent, Mary Bickett has 44 years of experience in the travel industry. She specializes in Europe; specifically France, Ireland, Italy, Spain and now Greece. Her interests include: all-inclusive resorts, Beach & Sun trips, Food & Wine trips, Luxury travel and Safaris.
Athens is the capital city of Greece with an approximate population of 3.7 million people, but there are also estimates that go up to 5 million. It is in many ways the birthplace of Classical Greece, and therefore of Western civilization. The city has a rich history including designs by Ottoman, Byzantine and Roman Empires. Today, greater Athens is the economic, political and cultural center of modern Greece, and has almost half of Greece’s total population.
Top Tips for Athens
Athens is not a cashless city – there are a lot of ATMs around, so make sure you take your debit card and get cash for all the places that won’t take credit or debit
The metro is your friend – Athens metro is easy to navigate, and with only 3 lines connecting the city you can get almost everywhere and not get lost
Use apps – taxi’s can be found near major squares and are relativly cheap. The app BEAT will allow you to choose a specific taxi driver that speaks English.
Beware of pickpockets – don’t leave your phone sitting out on the table at the cafe, and make sure your wallet is in your front pants pocket
Nightlife starts late – Greeks like to start the party late, and usually won’t head out until 2am.
Tips are optional – but highly appreciated
Our Favorite Spots in Athens
5th-century B.C. hilltop temple monument
Ruins of iconic 5th-century B.C. temple complex on Athens’ rocky hilltop undergoing restoration. – Google
Iconic 5th BC Athenian temple ruins
Restored, landmark temple ruins on archaeological site with iconic Doric columns built from 447 BC. – Google
Ancient treasures in contemporary venue
Ultramodern glass & steel museum housing ancient artifacts from the Acropolis archaeological site. – Google
Acropolis temples & family-run tavernas
In the shadow of the Acropolis and its ancestral temples, on the slope of the hillside, is Plaka, a neighborhood with a rustic touch and narrow cobbled streets full of tiny shops selling jewelry, clothing and local pottery. – Google
Ruined temple completed under Hadrian
Vast temple begun in 6th century B.C. on the site of an ancient outdoor sanctuary dedicated to Zeus. – Google
Iconic Greek ruins with a museum
Famous landmark featuring the ruins of an ancient Greek gathering place & a museum with artifacts. – Google
Monument and history
Syntagma Square is the central square of Athens. – Google
Ancient Greek art & archaeology museum
Neoclassical museum of Ancient Greek art & archaeology, with sculpture, metalwork, vases & jewelry. – Google
The Agora, classic landmarks & tavernas
Lively Monastiraki is known for iconic landmarks including the ruins of Hadrian’s Library, the Ancient Agora and the rebuilt Stoa of Attalos, with a museum exhibiting Athenian objects. – Google
Iconic temple of ancient Greece
Honoring Athena & Poseidon, this famous, ancient Greek temple features a porch with 6 caryatids. – Google
Where we Stayed in Athens
Hotel Grande Bretagne, a Luxury Collection Hotel
In Athens, Mary stayed at the Hotel Grande Bretagne, a Luxury Collection Hotel, a 5 star luxury hotel right in the heart of Athens; steps from Syntagma Square and the Hellenic Parliament. For dinner she enjoyed Mediterranean cuisine at the GB Roof Garden Restaurant with an amazing view of the night Acropolis. This luxury hotel also features a spa and is close to a golf course.
With breathtaking views of the fabled Acropolis, regal Syntagma Square and the Parliament, lush Lycabettus Hill or the original Olympic Stadium, the multi-awarded 5 star Hotel Grande Bretagne offers an unrivaled perspective of Athens’ mythical history. Located right in the heart of the city since 1874, the multi-awarded landmark hotel is within walking distance of exclusive shopping areas, museums and the business district. With meticulous attention to detail, the 320 rooms and suites marry charming old-world elegance with state-of-the-art facilities, whereas the 58 suites enjoy additional benefits including personalized Butler Service. Visit the picturesque GB Roof Garden Restaurant for the finest Mediterranean cuisine or the Winter Garden for an afternoon high tea and do not miss the GB Spa for a signature massage, beauty treatment or an indulgent respite in the thermal Suite. Meet our Concierge team members, who stand ready to unlock the secret treasures of Athens. -Hotel Grande Bretagne
King George, a Luxury Collection Hotel
Mary also visited King George, a Luxury Collection Hotel, a 5 star luxury hotel right in the heart of Athens; steps from Syntagma Square and the Hellenic Parliament. With just over 100 rooms this hotel feels a bit more exclusive than the Grande Bretange. She enjoyed Greek cuisine at Tudor Hall Restaurant. This luxury hotel is also close to a golf course and has a large ballroom for events or weddings.
Dating back to 1930 and located in the centre of Athens, the 5-star King George, a Luxury Collection Hotel, represents the absolute essence of a fascinating boutique hotel. Perfectly situated for captivating experiences, a truly inspiring and gracious venue, King George is located within walking distance from the wonders of Athens. The Acropolis, Agora, Plaka and Thission are nearby, so are upmarket boutiques, world-renowned museums and the city’s vibrant business district. With 102 rooms and suites, a Penthouse Suite with private outdoor pool overlooking the fabled Acropolis, the awarded Tudor Hall Restaurant featuring authentic Greek cuisine and incomparable views of the city’s landmarks, King George finds its best expression in the outstanding personalized service. -King George
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